UNITED STATES NEWS

Native American tribes reach $590 million opioid settlement

Feb 1, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2022, 9:20 am

Native American tribes have reached settlements over the toll of opioids totaling $590 million with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and the country’s three largest drug distribution companies, according to a court filing made public Tuesday.

The filing in U.S. District Court in Cleveland lays out the broad terms of the settlements with Johnson & Johnson and distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Some details are still being hashed out.

All federally recognized tribes in the U.S. will be able to participate in the settlements, even if they did not sue over opioids. And there could be settlements between other firms in the industry and tribes, many of which have been hit hard by the overdose crisis.

W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state, called it a big deal for tribes to reach their own settlement, in contrast with tobacco industry deals in the 1990s that left out Native American groups.

Allen doesn’t expect his tribe of about 550 people to get much from the settlement, but it will help in its efforts to build a healing center that will address opioid addiction, he said.

“Every penny counts, so we’ll take it and run with it,” he said.

One study cited in the settlement found that Native Americans have had the highest per capita rate of opioid overdose of any population group in 2015.

“The dollars that will flow to tribes under this initial settlement will help fund crucial, on-reservation, culturally appropriate opioid treatment services,” Douglas Yankton, chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota, said in a statement.

More than 400 tribes and intertribal organizations representing about 80% of tribal citizens have sued over opioids.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson — whose opioids included Duragesic and Nucynta but which has stopped selling opioids — said in a statement Tuesday that the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

AmerisourceBergen, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, said in a statement that the deal will expedite help for communities and let the company focus on the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Cardinal, based in Columbus, Ohio, and McKesson, based in Irving, Texas, declined to comment.

Under the deal, Johnson & Johnson would pay $150 million over two years. AmerisourceBergen McKesson and Cardinal would contribute $440 million in total over seven years.

Each of the 574 federally recognized tribes could decide whether to participate but would be required to use the money to deal with the opioid epidemic.

The deal would take effect when 95% of the tribes with lawsuits against the companies agree to the settlement, said Tara Sutton, a lawyer whose firm is representing 28 tribes.

Settlements are also in the works between tribes and other companies involved in opioids, Sutton said.

The newly announced deals are separate from a $75 million one the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the three distribution companies reached last year ahead of a trial.

The same four companies are nearing the final stages of approval of settlements worth $26 billion with state and local governments across the U.S. They have until later this month to decide whether enough government entities have signed on to continue in the deal.

The money for tribes will come out of the larger settlements.

The tribal settlements are part of about $40 billion worth of settlements, penalties and fines rung up over the years by companies over their role in opioids.

The drugs, including both prescription drugs such as OxyContin and illicit ones including heroin and illegally made fentanyl, have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. in the past two decades.

___

Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Fonseca from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

Buddhist monks perform rituals during the funeral of famed American extreme skier Hilaree Nelson in...
Associated Press

Famed US extreme skier gets traditional Nepalese funeral

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was on Sunday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials. Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com, raises his arms to celebrate the IP...
Associated Press

Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles US rape allegation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced late Saturday. A settlement amount […]
1 day ago
Physician Karen Calkins tends to Mona Guibord, 94, as she waits to be evacuated from Pine Island, F...
Associated Press

Florida deaths rise to 47 amid struggle to recover from Ian

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Rescuers evacuated stunned survivors on a large barrier island cut off by Hurricane Ian and Florida’s death toll climbed sharply, as hundreds of thousands of people were still sweltering without power days after the monster storm rampaged from the state’s southwestern coast up to the Carolinas. Florida, with nearly four […]
1 day ago
FILE - Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks after touring the IRS New Carrolton Federal Building,...
Associated Press

Allies aim for risky Russian oil price cap as winter nears

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials celebrated in early September when top allies agreed to back an audacious, never-before-tried plan to clamp down on Vladimir Putin’s access to cash as he wages war on Ukraine. The idea sounded simple enough: The countries would pay only cut-rate prices for Russian oil. That would deprive Putin of money […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: October 2, Warsaw Uprising is crushed

Today in History Today is Sunday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2022. There are 90 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 2, 1944, German troops crushed the two-month-old Warsaw Uprising, during which a quarter of a million people had been killed. On this date: In 1869, political and spiritual […]
1 day ago
FILE - This still image from video taken Oct. 4, 2021, and provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a...
Associated Press

Ruptured oil pipeline off California approved for repairs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Texas oil company was granted permission to repair an underwater pipeline that ruptured off the coast of Southern California a year ago, spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude, and forced beaches and fisheries to close. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the approval Friday to Amplify Energy […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Native American tribes reach $590 million opioid settlement